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Just about every year, Stephen and I host our family for memorial day weekend.
It’s a wonderful way to kick off summer with those you love most. And now that the whole family is vaccinated, it’s a great excuse to get us all together again after so much time missed.
Since Memorial Day is just around the corner, I figured that I would spend today’s blog sharing with y’all some of my favorite tips and tricks for hosting a Memorial Day event that easy on you as a host, but that ya’ll are sure to remember!
Even though we’re keeping our gathering very small and everyone save Edison and Franklin will be fully vaccinated, we still want to take every precaution that we can to keep us and our community safe.
We’ll be staying outside for the most part, so I pick up some cute blankets from the Target Bullseye Playground to keep in a basket near our chairs, just in case someone gets a bit chilly or wants to snuggle up (as I often do lol).
We also stocked up on cute little hand sanitizers to leave out on the tables. We got ours from Bath and Body Works, but Target, Walmart and the Dollar Tree sell similar items. It could also be a good idea to leave out some hand wipes as well (BBQ after all can get really messy!).
Lastly, I like to pick up a few small things of sunscreen. I’m big on taking care of your skin, and If we’re going to be spending most of our time outside, having some small individual bottles is a good idea.
If you’re hosting an event that will take place inside with unvaccinated folks, it could be a good idea to pick up some cloth mask. You can even customize them with your guest names and some cute designs if you have a cutting machine like a Cricut and some heat transfer vinyl (HTV).
Custom Family Shirts
I thought that our family would find this idea to be silly at first. But this is actually something that they look forward to each year.
Since you’re designing the t-shirts yourself, you can create whatever you and your family want. Creating these shirts generally takes me less than an hour from start to finish and it’s way cheaper than getting someone else to make them for me.
Or you can invest in a Cricut machine here (they are great to have if you have kids). I personally like the Air Explore model for families. But if you’re tight on space, the Joy does a great job for task like this too.
I feel that decor is what takes things from being basic to memorable. If you have a Cricut and the time, the Cricut design space offers tons of free projects you can create for Memorial Day.
However if you’re lazy like me, you can easily find some cute pieces for very decent prices at Target, Walmart and the Dollar Tree.
I really like picking up a few lanterns for the back yard from the Dollar Tree (we used these at our wedding too) But Target also sells some festive ones for Memorial Day and the 4th in packs of 3.
Hanging a few cute wreathes on your doors will also help you and your guest feel festive. Alternatively, you can also make a few fun wreaths yourself using simple supplies from the Dollar Tree.
Pinwheels are another fun little touch you can add that are especially great for young children. I generally like to add them along our drive way, but I always keep a few out so that Edison and Franklin can have some to play with.
Lastly, for some quick last minute decor, you can make some cute ballon arrangements. Target and Walmart again generally have a decent selection of balloons that you can use. But I personally prefer using the star balloons from the Dollar Tree. They are super cheap and you can even pre-order them a head of time.
The best thing about getting your decor for Memorial Day, is that you can store it all away and use it again for the 4th of July! That way you don’t have to scramble to try and find stuff last minute.
For most folks, Memorial Day is all about the grilling. But having some light or doves is never a bad ides either.
The problem I generally run into is, I’m always worn out from hosting to really want to come up with something creative! So here are some easy snack ideas that you can make ahead of time that will keep your guest full and happy as they wait on the main course from the grill. I generally only make 2 or 3 of these for events, but If you’re up for it and have the space, these are all quick to make.
And if you’re really low on time, make sure to check out my post on the in’s and out’s of online grocery shopping here.
Take some wooden screwers and add strawberries, blueberries and bananas to them. Place them on a drying rack over a backing sheet and drizzle chocolate over them. Feel free to add some sprinkles if you have any! Set aside to let the chocolate fully dry and you have some patriotic fruit kabobs.
Buttered Corn Coins
Take some fresh corn and using a sharp knife, cut into 4-5 disk. Be sure to use a sharp knife as you as more easily slip and cut yourself with a dull one. Take some butter and mix it with basil (I prefer fresh) garlic and onion powder and some of your other favorite spices. Toss on the grill or in the air fryer until cooked–about 5 minutes.
Cupped Whipped Mashed Potatoes
I’m not going to go into too much detail with this on, as everyone likes their mashed potatoes differently. However, to achieve this easy o’dHove, use your favorite creamy mashed potato recipe and simply add it to those small cocktail sampler cups. Top with some fresh dill and a small pinch of sea salt.
Smokey Meatball Sliders
Mix your favorite Italian spice blend as well as some fresh garlic and onions into either vegan ground ‘beef’ (what I use) or real ground beef. Feel free to add some fresh herbs too like parsley, basil, thyme etc. Divide and roll into even 1 inch balls (I get about 12 per pack of vegan meat that I use). Alternatively, if you are short on time, you can also use pre-made meat balls. To a pot, add about 1/4 cup of your favorite jam (I like raspberry or blueberry for this), 1/4 cup ketchup, 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce , one capful of Worcestershire sauce (get the gluten free kind if you’re vegan or allergic to fish!), one cap full of liquid smoke, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix together in a pot and then add in your meatballs and let them cook slowly over low heat. Alternatively, you can also use an instant pot or a crockpot. I let mine slowly cook for about 30-45 minutes so that they can really get that jammy smokey flavor. Once they are done cooking, you can either add them to cocktail sampler cups for folks to enjoy, or make meatball sliders by adding them to a toasted Hawaiian bun with a garlic aioli, onions and some lettuce.
Is this a bit extra for a Memorial Day gathering?
Absolutely. But the kids really enjoy this and it gives them (and some of the adults as well) something to do while you’re getting things ready.
What I like to do is leave a few party favors in a basket that’s easy for the kids to dig through that can keep them entertained while we’re prepping thing.
Things that I find work really well are:
- Playing cards
- Small Toys
- Portable Games
I also like to add in a few practical things that can come in handy for my guest as well, such as:
- Flip Flops (I get them cheap at the Dollar Tree)
- Drink Cozies
- refillable bottles
The awesome thing about these favors is that they can all be easily customized too if you have a cutting machine, which just adds a nice little personalized touch.
Of course, you don’t have to do any of these things to have a great event with your loved ones. Especially after the year that we had, just getting to spend time with the fam and catching up in a safe manner is the best thing possible.
But I’m the type of person who likes to express my love through acts of gifts and service, so going over the top with hosting and catering is something that I’m personally big on (and I’m lucky enough to have a husband who will join me on this ride lol).
So whether you take one of these tips, all of them or none of them, if you’re having a Memorial Day get together, I hope that its an amazing one for you and all of your guest!
Let me know what ya’ll plan to get up too, or if ya’ll have any family traditions that you’ll be resuming again this year!